As voters in a democracy, it is incumbent on us to see where our politicians are taking us and whether the administration caters to our needs. A nation’s progress can be measured through a combination of basic factors like health, wealth, food sufficiency, population control, education, housing, well paying jobs and GDP which covers these factors. Let us imagine these attributes are enclosed in a box packed with people and the box is opened after decades to see where the people exposed to the policies and programs of the governments ruling periodically after elections have progressed. If the governance was good and progressive, the people would be in the pink of health, with head held high, well fed and educated besides being well qualified for available lucrative jobs, all living in decent housing in clean and hygienic surroundings, at peace with neighbors and each other, no gender or religious discrimination, no signs of any deprivation and GDH (Gross Domestic Happiness) apparent on their smiling faces! If the policies and governance were wrong, the population would be undisciplined, people would be in various stages of unhappiness, violence prevalent, wide disparities in health and wealth, unemployment and government with some anti people attitude, law and order difficult to enforce, polarization of people, justice colored and so on!
Our plight can be recognised in the second example? The state of the economy after the pains of demonetisation, faulty implementation of GST, loss of jobs, high prices of eatables and essential commodities, unsatisfactory implementation writing off farmers loans and tackling NPAs, increasing aspiration of the people with more government and GDH low. Revved up old schemes are propagated as new whilst pronouncing many grandiose development schemes like bullet trains with present inadequate infrastructure, ghastly accidents, un kept promises, have disillusioned the so far gullible public.
Modinomics of constant and rapid changes with plenty of clever slogans like PRAGATI (Proactive Government and Timely Implementation), Swatch Bharat have not met their targets after more than three years. The administration is chugging along, Ganga still filthy with crores wasted and no implementable policy in place! The lower middle class, senior citizens, the disadvantaged and poor have been badly hit. Changing India is important, but so is managing change. People have so far been giving and even forgiving.
To add to all this is the RSS apparent control of the BJP agenda. Atrocious communal statements are made, vigilantism with impunity, and most appear not fringe elements. There is a tendency to rule and arrogance can be seen in the number of ordinances being issued, the latest being a gag order legislation planned by the Rajasthan government!
There is more to governance than good event management and political showmanship. This is reflected in social media, once dominated by Sangh Parivar cadre that trolled any dissent. Here is an example: Male (M) mosquito trying to impress his wife “Darling, I will hunt a lion for you”. Wife (W) “OK, fine, now go to sleep”. M “I will bite an elephant and bring the blood for you”. W “Sure love, go to sleep”. M “I will take you for a ride in a Mercedes to Paris”. W “Umm, please go to sleep”. M “You don’t believe me. I will get 100 grams of gold for you”. W angrily “How many times I’ve told you not to come home after biting Modi!” These kinds of printable jokes are proliferating in public domain, so it’s pointless denying them. Perhaps the nation did require a disruptive PM and bitter medicine to force changes after we voted the Congress out. So it’s pointless repeatedly bringing up the Congress past misdemeanors for all that are wrong today. The government appears to be not geared to be responsive to today common man’s needs, grievances and well being!
Nevertheless every Indian has been guaranteed food, electricity, bank account(never mind if not sustainable), housing with toilet, cooking gas, insurance coverage, micro loans, all weather good roads, law and order, also some employment in a robust and new economy in a new India. The government appears reactive rather than claimed proactive and sensitivity to feedback, but after the implementation! They ought to learn from the army to have plan A with alternatives B and C to cover every aspect and be ready for unseen circumstances with infrastructure,, logistics and backup for maximum effect with minimum damage to self! Government obviously does not have the people with expertise since they have been unable to anticipate fallout of radical and bold changes. Consequently there is immense pain inflicted on the common man, with later correction of “teething troubles” taking a great toll, ruining family life and peace of mind of the citizen.
BJP wants discussion but exhibits stiff resistance to any criticism which will be strongly denied, justified or ridiculed. The PMs charisma and oratory relating to people’s dreams he promises to fulfill are taking this nation on a roller coaster ride. Consequently we are in unchartered waters. I imagine the government now telling me that with my head in a state of art refrigerator and feet in the digital oven, on an average they will keep me safe and my temperature normal. When will the government stop shooting the messenger, seriously welcome all criticism/allegations thereby being able to course correct, act positively to bring long promised “acche din”” for all of us?
(The author is a retired naval officer and freelance writer).